Solar power can offer a solution to the energy instability in India, according to a report by Bridge to India consultancy in the wake of crippling power outages in the country last month. The analysis hailed solar power that can play a “key role” as the solution to India’s overburdened grid and other structural power challenges.
The two power outages on July 30 and 31 have affected over 600 million inhabitants in around 20 out of 28 states in India. Although exact causes are unclear, analysts say excess demands on the central grid and the instability of electricity supply across the nation.
“The predicament has to be answered at a more fundamental level. India still has 400 million people who are not grid connected,” Ratnottama Sengupta of Bridge to India’s Market Intelligence Team said. “As coal imports go up due to shortage of domestic supply and oil prices have already risen by more than 40% this year, India must explore its untapped wealth of renewable sources of energy to overcome its structural power challenges,” she added.
According to Sengupta, “Solar power can play a key role in this: it is plentiful, locally available, can be harnessed by small plants in decentral locations and it is increasingly economical.”
The analysis notes that the dispatchability of solar power is an issue, but this can be addressed through CSP with thermal storage or battery storage. She also said that distributed solar solutions can complement grid power in the interim besides diesel backup systems that may help electricity supplies more secure.
The analysis describes a future system likely to be based on interlinked supply and demand areas at the local and regional level, which will result in a more stable, flexible and inexpensive power supply, Sengupta said.